Sunday, May 31, 2009

Overhead Squats with Kettlebells

Overhead squats with kettlebells are an interesting challenge if you are searching for a squat variation to pick up.




The double kettlebell overhead squat is DIFFICULT. It requires a lot of thoracic flexibility and, because of the upright upper body positioning, knees and ankles will experience some stress as well. Not all stress is bad, mind you, but if you have pre-existing knee issues, this might not be the squat for you.

There is risk with this exercise. For a barbell overhead squat, it is generally a pretty simple affair to drop the bar and get out of the way. With two kettlebells moving independently, avoiding them if they fall will be more complicated. If you feel yourself getting into trouble, dump the bell(s) and get out of the way! As Pavel says, "Quick feet are happy feet." - words to live by.

Here are some exercises and drills you could include in progressions to build into a double kettlebell overhead squat:

*Lying shoulder girdle stretches

*Dislocates with a dowel or PVC - with time, move the grip closer

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*Cross-Bench Dumbbell/Barbell Pullovers with a moderate weight focusing on improving range of motion without loss of shoulder stability

*Barbell Overhead Squats, gradually moving the grip closer with moderate loads

*One-Arm Kettlebell Overhead Squats, without excessive torso rotation

9 comments:

Tom said...

That's it, if Sensei has a pair of FiveFingers, I'm sold.

Out of curiousity mate, why would you wear them at home as opposed to just working out in bare feet?
From your previous posts you seem to be a man who isnt one to splash out on fads, what prompted the purchase?

Boris said...

Honestly, I felt like a 'tool' buying them - I hate 'trendy' and I've never understood fashion even though I tried when I was younger. But, about 5 years ago, a colleague who is big in the Budo world kept telling me how great socks with toes were for proprioception and foot health, so that was part of the reason. Also, Dan John was raving about them and I decided it was time to give them a shot.

It's all an experiment for me. I haven't worn them enough to give them an honest review yet.

matt said...

Hey Boris.

You have any ideas for increasing ankle flexibility and mobility?

I've been trying this for a couple weeks:
http://www.goswim.tv/entries/3959/dryland---ankle-flexibility-exercises.html
and this:
http://sanfranciscocrossfit.blogspot.com/2008/11/your-calves-are-tight-bro.html

They seem to be getting a bit better. Just seeing if you had some other ideas.

Boris said...

Hi Matt.

Those are good. There's a lot out there. I know that static stretching isn't in vogue now, but I do A LOT of it when I have time like if I'm sitting around watching tv.

Dick Hartzell's stuff is always great and must know background knowledge for bands - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XKMy8hiuGnY

It's been many years since I've had any shin splint, but this is good stuff. The Diesel Crew always has great stuff too (some overlap of material here) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QdTmh5yKdR8

matt said...

Thanks Boris!

I ordered a band today. It looks like it could be pretty useful.

Boris said...

Good deal Matt. Which one did you get? I have pairs of the light and medium (green) bands and they've held up very well to moderate (at times heavy) use.

matt said...

I ended up going with the blue band he used in the ankle video. I think one of their stronger bands. I also saw some nice ham and groin stretches using bands in the elitefts play list that I am going to try. It looked like they were using a little smaller band.

I also meant to ask if you have checked out the 5-3-1 program from Jim Wendler and if you have what you thought about it:
http://www.flexcart.com/members/elitefts/default.asp?m=PD&pid=2976

I thought it was really well put together (in my very non expert opinion) and it looks like a great way to program.

Boris said...

I think you might end up getting a green or light band at some point Matt - the blue is pretty heavy duty and might be too much for some exercises, assuming you want to do a variety of things.

I haven't checked out the 5-3-1 program, but I've heard good things about it. If Jim Wendler wrote it, it's probably very solid stuff. If I end up getting it, I'll write a review, but I'm sure it will be good - I don't think I've ever bought anything from elitefts.com that I didn't like.

matt said...

Thanks Boris. I think I will also be getting a lighter band. I am mostly concerned with my hamstring and groin. I don't think I can do the exercises demonstrated by Dick Hartzell with the heavy band.

I got my blue band today. The ankle stretches were pretty difficult. I had pretty good sweat going.